Japan represents one of the biggest Bitcoin markets in the world. In recent years, the Land of the Rising Sun has become the poster country for how Bitcoin adoption can be implemented on a nationwide scale. Because of Japan’s growing Bitcoin exploits, many foreign exchanges now – in spite of licensing issues – see it as an unignorable market. The latest exchange to turn its attention towards Japan is Coinbase, with the company seeing it as the perfect avenue to grow its already fast expanding client base.
Kitazawa Leads the Charge
Coinbase currently ranks as one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States, having over 20 million members. However, global expansion is clearly the next step in the company’s development. Leading the charge for Coinbase’s efforts in Japan will be Nao Kitazawa, the former Money Design COO. His hiring is being lauded due to his experience heading up one of Japan’s leading fintech firms. Before his time at Money Design, he was a successful investment banker at Morgan Stanley, where he solidified his reputation through a number of high profile real estate acquisitions. Kitazawa’s impressive profile also led to him being named one of the Top 10 Fintech Leaders by Tech in Asia.
Bending to Rules and Regulations
The challenge that is facing Coinbase all centers on Japan’s strict laws and regulation – something that has already forced Kraken to abandon its Japanese operation. Bringing the market under control, Japan has been extremely proactive in outlining ways to control and govern the growing cryptocurrency exchange market. While these moves have been positively greeted by the general public, it has seen several exchanges uproot from Japan. The appointment of Kitazawa is being seen as a shrewd move, as his experience could help the company navigate the sector and the attached regulations.
Bracing for the increased level of regulation, Coinbase has already made plans to operate and comply with the FSA, as it’s eyeing up a strong market share in Japan. Coinbase has already started the process of product and website translation, as it’s prepping its platform for the Japanese market. What’s clear is that Coinbase is putting clear time, effort, and investment behind this Japanese expansion, something that it can be argued that other crypto exchanges simply haven’t done up until this point. With increasing competition amongst crypto exchanges, Coinbase just appears to be one step ahead of the field.
The Land of the Rising Funds
Coinbase plans to unroll its Japanese trading service in stages – at least that’s how it appears given recently discussed plans. Initially, Coinbase will focus on the major cryptos such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, with Ripple support not currently active. Ripple is widely reported as an important and popular altcoin on Japanese shores – with a 24-hour trading volume of approximately ¥57,608,447,391 ($524 million). For this reason, many expect Ripple support to be fast-tracked as Coinbase obtains traction and notoriety in Japan.
Coinbase is Turning Japanese!
In the eyes of some it’s a gamble, while others see it as a calculated move, either way, you’re likely to hear a lot more about Coinbase’s Japanese expansion in the weeks and months to come.